All dogs love a good treat, and it can be so tempting to give them the most luxurious looking food out there because they deserve it! But sometimes high price tags don’t mean high quality. Your dog deserves high quality ingredients or they can end up with an upset stomach.
Just like us humans, dogs can have unexpected reactions, intolerances, or flare-ups to food and we, as their owners, need to help them avoid these triggers. But having these digestive issues doesn’t mean your dog can’t have treats! There are plenty of brands out there who aim their doggy snacks at sensitive stomachs.
If you know your dog has some sensitivity when it comes to food, then you’re in the right place. I’m going to help you navigate through the dog park of dietary restrictions to help you find some delicious and easily digestible snacks for your dog.
Best Dog Treats for Sensitive Stomachs
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As the name suggests Canidae’s biscuits are grain-free, and as I said before, this means there are no fillers. Grains can feed the bad bacteria in your dog’s gut and can quickly make them obese, so Canidae actively avoiding this ingredient is a great sign that your pooch’s stomach is in safe hands.
This packet can come in three different flavors, Salmon and Sweet Potato, Bison and Butternut Squash, and Duck and Chickpeas. Some other great ingredients in each of the Heaven Biscuits are potato, peas, and chicken fat! This ticks every box on our list as it avoids grains, has no artificial ingredients, contains animal fats, and is mainly made of meat and vegetables!
Because all these ingredients are organic, your dog’s tummy should feel calm and happy.
One other thing to consider with the Canidae treats is their texture. They are crunchy and give a great snap, which is perfect for training your dog and keeping their teeth clean. If your pooch is small like my Boston Terrier, then you can snap them into a smaller size.
- Comes in three flavors
- Natural Ingredients
- Crunchy Texture
- Good for Teeth and Tummies
- No Cons!
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The Merrick Backcountry range is perfect for protein heavy diets as their treats are made of jerky! Available in three flavors, so you can mix up your dog’s palette, you can choose Lamb and Venison, Beef, or Chicken.
But we need to look at the other ingredients to see if they are good for sensitive stomachs. Thankfully, the list is very short. The other ingredients are dried milk, tocopherols (which is a preservative), and Rosemary.
Now the preservative Tocopherols might worry you as I’ve mentioned that your dog should be avoiding artificial ingredients. But despite its scientific sounding name, Tocopherols are a natural ingredient and can actually help against sun damage. They are often found in egg yolks and leafy vegetables. Now that that has been explained, you should feel safe giving this treat to your sensitive dog.
Being a protein heavy treat is great if your dog loves to play and run. Protein helps you build and repair bones, muscles, skin, and issues, and is a great regulative food for your dog’s digestion. If your dog jumps, races and zooms, then this treat will be a great purchase.
The Merrick Backcountry has no grains, and that is because it is almost 100% meat. This won’t be a problem for sensitive tummies, but in a balanced diet, your dog will need to get its energy from somewhere.
- Comes in three flavors
- Natural Ingredients
- Mostly protein
- No Carbohydrates
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If you’re after a treat that has the least amount of ingredients possible, then you’ll find it in this next product. Stella and Chewy’s Freeze-Dried Raw Chicken Hearts are made out of just one ingredient. Chicken Hearts. They have been cut up into small pieces, so any breed can chow down on the deliciousness of a one ingredient treat. And although the chicken hearts are a raw ingredient, they have been freeze dried, meaning you won’t be opening up a bag of slopping wet slices of heart.
Stella & Chewy’s products are aimed at keeping their ingredients limited, being protein rich to help with digestion, and having natural fats to keep your dogs skin and coat vibrant. They have done all of this with one ingredient, and not overcomplicating our dog’s digestive system.
Despite all this good news, some customers have had reason to complain. Some of Stella & Chewy’s packets have contained chicken hearts that were too fatty for their dogs. Fat isn’t a bad thing. It helps both dogs and humans absorb the vitamins we need. Most vitamins are fat-soluble which means that they can only be absorbed with fats.
The problem comes when you have too much fat in your diet, as with everything there needs to be a balance. If you end up picking up a bag of Stella and Chewy and find that a lot of the chunks are fatty cuts, then you might need to give the treats to your dog more sparingly than you hoped.
- One Ingredient
- Natural Ingredient
- 100% Chicken
- High Protein
- No Carbohydrates
- No Vegetables
- Customer Complaints about being too Fatty.
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Next on our list is a treat specifically made for dogs on hypoallergenic diets. They even have dry dog food made just for this reason as well. As we are focusing on treats at the moment, the Hills Skin/Food Sensitivities review will have to wait for another article.
Specially made for dogs with food sensitivities and skin conditions, you might be able to get these treats at your vets. If not, you can still find them online, but probably at a higher price.
Hills specifically recommend their product for dogs with adverse food reactions (meaning they have food allergies or food intolerances), Gastrointestinal disorders, and dogs with skin conditions. If these conditions match your dog, then I recommend buying Hills Jerky Hypo Treats.
The one downside to Hills is their ingredients list. I have been praising short and natural ingredients to help your dog with its sensitive stomach, but Hills has an ingredients list that is paragraphs long. Of course, their product is aimed at special conditions, but I would talk to your veterinarian if you’re unsure how the ingredients might affect your dog.
- Made for sensitive dogs
- Natural Ingredients
- Lots of ingredients
- Artificial Ingredients
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Milk-Bone is the last dog treat on our list and it is many dogs’ favorite. Coming in two flavors, Chicken, and Beef & Filet Mignon, the reason why many dogs love the taste of these treats is because it is made from real bone marrow which has been wrapped in a cookie to hold it together. You often find bones in pet stores because dogs just love them! One of the reasons for this is the marrow which they find delicious and nutritious.
However, when we look at the ingredients list there are some hang ups when it comes to sensitivity. One of the main ingredients is flour, meaning it contains grains. The third main ingredient is sugar, meaning it won’t be great on your dog’s teeth.
That being said, many customers said their dogs have sensitive stomachs but loved these treats, and had no tummy upsets after eating them. I recommend giving these cookies sparingly to your dog, see how they go, and never give them more than 2 a day simply due to the sugar levels.
- Great Taste
- Natural Ingredients
- Contains a good amount of protein
- Uses grains
- Contains sugar
What does stomach sensitivity look like?
Before we start, you might be wondering what the symptoms of digestive problems look like in dogs. My first suggestion is to talk to your vet if you see some worrying changes, but here is a list to help you figure out if your pooch is feeling poorly:
- Low Energy
- Salivating more than normal
- Change in appetite
- Excessive Gas
- Eating Grass
What ingredients should I look for in treats?
- Vegetables and Meats
Dogs are omnivores so they need both meat and vegetables in their diet. When you’re picking out treats and daily food, make sure you give them a healthy mix of both.
- Easy to digest carbohydrates
Carbohydrates produce energy, and all animals need energy to function. To make sure the carbohydrates you pick are easy to digest, I would suggest avoiding corn and wheat, which are often added to dog food as a filler instead of as a healthy choice.
- Animal-Based Fats
Your dog’s gut is ready to digest food like chicken and salmon, so they will be ready to digest their fats too. If you don’t give your dog some kind of fat or oil, their body will be missing a key ingredient in their diet and that will produce some upset.
- No Artificial Ingredients
Chemicals are often used in all foods, including our own. It can help make a treat taste better, or hold its consistency to make it more appealing. But too many of these man-made ingredients can confuse and upset your dog’s stomach, so it’s best to avoid them when you can.
Now you know what to look out for, let’s dive into the treats themselves!
Finding the best treat for your dog’s sensitive stomach will be more of a trial and error process than anything else, but hopefully, I have helped you know what to look for in your search for snacky goodness. And I hope I have also helped you narrow down your search for something your dog will healthfully enjoy.
Remember that the fewer ingredients there are, the more likely you’ll find what upsets your dog’s stomach and then how to avoid it in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Peanut Butter okay for dogs with sensitive stomachs?
Most of the time peanut butter will not harm your dog. We’ve all watched the videos of dogs licking windows in desperation because they just love that peanut butter so much, and peanut butter is a very popular treat to give dogs! But, like humans, peanuts are a common allergy for our furry friends.
If you notice any irritated skin, hair loss, or ear infections, then this could be a sign that your dog is allergic to peanuts. Take your dog to your veterinarian so they can rule out any other issues, and help your dog recover.
What dog breeds are most likely to have sensitive stomachs?
Unfortunately, our terrier cousins, Yorkies and Scotties are the most likely to have sensitivities in their stomachs. If your dog is a puppy or an oldie, then they are even more likely to have issues with their tummies.
If you’re worried about your pet, have a look at the “What does stomach sensitivity look like?” section of my buyer’s guide, as it has the symptoms of digestion issues. If you’re still unsure, then see your vet if you are worried about your dog.
What do I feed my dog, who has gastrointestinal problems?
Boiled chicken and white rice are good options for any type of sensitive or digestive problem, as they are soft and simple for the body to digest.
The blander, the better, as spices and seasoning can aggravate your dog’s tummy causing pain and diarrhea.
Toxic Food for Dogs
There are loads of foods which are great for people, and there are some foods which we love but we should not have too much off. The same goes for dogs. The main issue with foods that are toxic for dogs is that your dog normally doesn’t know that the food is toxic for them, especially as they watch us munch down and enjoy the treats.
Watching us be safe with these foods makes our dogs believe they are safe to eat it too, but we are different! Our bodies cannot handle the same ingredients, so here is a quick list of everyday food your dog shouldn’t touch:
- Onions and Garlic
- Macadamia nuts
If you see your dog has eaten any of these, take them to the vet immediately!
How can I improve my dog’s digestion?
There are a number of ways you can help your dog’s digestion from home. Although you should also go to see a vet if you think something is wrong, there are some easy everyday methods to keep your dog’s digestion and health on track.
The first way is to keep them on an exercise routine. Just like with humans, the more your dog exercise, the more energy they will use and the faster their digestive cycle will turn their food into caloric energy. Having a routine for your dog will make it easier for their body to know when to expect to use up the stored energy. Creating a timeline like this should stop the discomfort of long food storage.
Another way to keep things on track is to eat high protein foods and low fat foods. This is to do with promoting the right kind of bacteria in your dog’s gut which can help break down any lingering foods. Another food type that can help break down starchy food is raw meat.
How long does it take for a dog to digest food?
The average time for a dog‘s digestive system to complete its process is between 8 to 10 hours, but different sized dogs and different aged dogs may take a longer or shorter time. If your dog hasn’t pooped in two or three days, then it’s time to see a vet.
Your vet will be able to see if there is anything serious going on and will be able to prescribe the best treatment depending on their findings.
Can dogs get a stomach bug?
Yes, they can! Any animal can get a stomach bug, as they are a type of virus. Vets might call the stomach bug by its technical name “viral gastroenteritis”.
If your dog does have a stomach bug, they probably got it from another dog rather than their owner. Just like any other digestion issue, the symptoms of a stomach bug can be on the “What does stomach sensitivity look like?” section of my buyer’s guide.
Give your dog plain food and make sure they keep hydrated. If the symptoms last longer than two weeks, call your vet as there might be something more serious going on.